Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Video Details New Combat

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst [official site] looks prettier every time I see it. The latest trailers to emerge for the ultra-stylish parkour-a-thon series reboot cast their focus on movement and combat, and showcase the many ways in which protagonist Faith Connors will run and jump and leap and bound and punch and… maybe you’re best having a look for yourself.

Those you who played the first Mirror’s Edge many many moons ago will know movement and combat are its bread and butter. Much of the free-running, wall-balancing and rail-vaulting on show in the latest clips is pretty reminiscent of its first outing – albeit even prettier – however a new ‘Shift’ maneuver allows Faith to execute short bursts of pace in any direction. Combine this with the new ‘Quickturn’ move for short and sharp 180 or 90 degree turns, and you get something that looks like a bit like this:

One thing the original game failed to master was combat. In theory, knicking your enemies’ weapons and tossing them once they’d ran out of bullets was a neat idea, however it was awkward in practice and too often disrupted the flow of all that cool parkouring. Catalyst ditches weapons altogether, forcing Faith to rely on melee attacks and smart use of her surroundings, balance and gravity. She’ll build and maintain ‘Focus’, a status whereby enemies can’t attack her, before entering ‘Flow’ – a state of awareness that lets you fight in “new and more powerful ways.”

On top of all that, fancy gadgetry such as a Mag Rope, used for traversal, and a Disruptor, used to mess with AI systems, are at Faith’s disposal.

If any of that tickles your fancy, you might be interested in signing up for the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst closed beta. You’ll need an Origin/EA account and while there’s no sign of when it’ll actually run, it sort of needs to be soon-ish, given the full game is due to launch on May 24. For further reading, you might wanna check out Graham’s thoughts on the Catalyst demo he played at Gamescom last year.


  1. Ansob says:

    The new combat looks like it has some of the same problems as the old one – namely the fact that attacking an enemy makes you lose your momentum, instead of being something you can do purely as you run by. :( Ideally, attacking an enemy on the run should’ve been something you do to get a speed boost out of it.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Kinetic energy — mass times half the square of velocity — must be preserved. If Faith is imparting energy to an opponent in an attack, either she’s got to lose velocity, or lose mass. The latter seems less appropriate to the game.

      You can of course do plenty of physics fakery to “enhance” the combat—and indeed it looks like they’re doing plenty of it in the video—but the foundation of the problem comes from trying to have movement based around a roughly realistic portrayal of building and preserving momentum, and then adding combat into it. You either have to lose momentum, or move towards very fake combat physics, or skip the combat altogether.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Leave bricks lying on rooftops. Snatch them as you pass, deftly fling them into faces as you run by. Problem solved.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Your seriously defending the current system as “realistic”? :P

        • aleander says:

          It doesn’t have to be realistic, but if she moves through people without slowing down then it will feel wrong. OTOH, I like the bricks idea.

      • C0llic says:

        This. You will lose momentum if you collide with something. I honestly think it would feel wrong for drop kicks and punches to have no impact upon your own momentum. Energy has to go somewhere, and that’s what sends them flying while slowing you down.

        That said, there are plenty of possibilities for glancing blows as you move across and past a target, but I can see that being hard to actually implement. Both practically (where do you aim and where are you looking?) and as potentially feeling quite weightless and unsatisfying.

        Of course, you could just do away with the combat entirely.

    • bill says:

      That was my first thought on watching the combat video. The very first fight they show STOPS faith in her tracks. I don’t ever want combat to stop movement.

      To be fair, the second half of the video shows her mainly taking down guys without losing (much) momentum, by doing kicks off nearby walls.
      That looks fine. But any combat where you stop and trade blows is going to be just as annoying as in the first one.

    • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

      As I recall they’ve said there’ll be two kinds of attacks. One which keeps your momentum up, and another which transfers your speed into a hard hitting attack, so I’m guessing it’ll be optional.

  2. Kefren says:

    I didn’t think there was any problem with combat in the original. It seemed fine to me (like the jumping in Xen).

    I didn’t like the glowing and floating yellow blobs in this video – one of the good things about the original was that things were as they appeared. No floating rotating powerups, or arrows. Clean and believable. If they add blobby waypoints it’s a step back.

    I’m also not convinced by adding lots of extra controls and gadgets. I like things simple, and let the gameplay and skill evolve out of that. Generally adding extra stuff just means “press key x now” – it isn’t more depth, just less freedom. So although this looks nice, I am suspicious it might be more complex and gamey.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      I don’t like the look of those yellow orb things either. I really hope they’re not waypoints. The strength of the previous game was that the environment design would lead you the right way. Making the environments less legible and adding in waypoint markers to compensate would be a huge step back.

      • funkstar says:

        I wonder if the waypoints are a consequence of moving to open world, some sort of thing you turn on if you want to follow them. I hope, given that the original let you turn off the red stuff they are optional but who knows

      • JonWood says:

        It’s possible that the demo there is being done in the speed run mode, which did have big floaty waypoints. I’ll second everyone else in saying it’ll be a sad thing if they’re in the main story mode.

      • kament says:

        I think those are checkpoints. You know, for a race or smth. I don’t like them either. There are better ways to highlight the path the player should be following. Chasing/following one of the drone things, e.g.

    • Jerkzilla says:

      I never really got the hang of combat in the first game. It was kind of weird how hard they punished you for stopping to fight people but in the later part made it almost impossible to avoid. Maybe a middle ground where you had some moves that only incapacitated temporarily but you lost less momentum?

      On the other hand, it was the simplicity that made the game great. The use of color in the environment for navigation was brilliant.

  3. Plank says:

    I’d love to try this in vr.

    • Zekiel says:

      From what I hear, moving faster than walking in VR is a really good way to induce motion sickness for a lot of people. So I think ME really might not be a good game for this!

  4. Zanchito says:

    Fighting is not why I play Mirror’s Edge. Not opposed to them introducing changes there as long as the freerunning and the environment are as good as the first one AND I can beat it without combat (again, like the first one, save for that fight on the boat).

  5. ElkiLG says:

    I wish it ditched combat altogether, really.

    • newc0253 says:

      I concur. The first game was great until it made Faith go up against squads of security guards. A smarter game would have been built around avoiding combat altogether.

  6. Urthman says:

    Seems like you could make a pretty easy excuse for her not picking up an enemy’s weapon to say weapons in that world are smart-keyed to individuals. No shooting is welcome, even if no combat would be better.

  7. tonicer says:

    Nice now if it is going to be PC only i think i would maybe even preorder it.

  8. Jackablade says:

    I’d like a quick attack that’s just sufficient to briefly stun an opponent – a punch or elbow as I run past without adversely affecting my speed.

  9. Artischoke says:

    If I’m not mistaken, you could “quickturn” by 180° with the press of a button in the first Mirror’s Edge too.

  10. Dave3d says:

    I am getting the game.
    Loved the first one (except for the horrible QTE’s).

    The only thing I am worried about in this one, is that they may ‘take away control’ from the user to show cool acrobatic actions or other things too often.
    That breaks immersion for me (coughTombRaidercough), and usually ends up being a pace breaker.

    Other than that, excited for the game.